If you attended the first preseason game at SoFi Stadium, you likely left without satisfying your hunger for a victory. But by many accounts on social media after the game, you likely left hungry for food too. Food that you had to buy there to eat. Food that left many fans a bit lighter in the wallet, and not very happy afterward.
While that is no way to make a good first impression, it’s not a complete surprise. My wife and I refuse to be one of the first to dine at new restaurants. Call it seasoned experience, but whether it’s the chic new fusion restaurant with a line around the block, or simply the latest now-open sign hanging from a franchise restaurant like Olive Garden or Red Lobster, we have learned over time that the first few days, or even weeks, can really be a hit or miss in terms of customer satisfaction.
So we just… don’t.
Well, many people did with the LA Rams‘ first preseason game against the LA Chargers. Needless to say, quite a few folks were left… wanting.
Before anyone believes that I am piling on, I’m not. There were a lot (and I mean a lot) of new employees who went from quiet no-customer training to masses attending a football game and wanting fresh food and individualized attention. Think of an airport restaurant, all the gates in the terminal have just emptied their passengers into the gates, and they are all looking for food.
Oh, and the restaurant just opened that day.
First day on the job
My heart goes out to anyone who prepares or serves food to customers under these circumstances. Those employees do not set the prices. And as far as the quality of the food? There is a huge difference between ordering plated food versus ordering concession food that may have been prepared well in advance to meet a huge surge demand.
For those who sold and served the food, I’m willing to bet you had a rough day at the office. Hopefully, it gets better, quickly. Not just for the patrons, but for the hired help too.
The food at SoFi Stadium got good pre-football coverage. One of the better articles to date was written by Farley Elliott from la.eater.com. In the article, we learn about a star chef duo named Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, successful chefs who have been blessed with fine food dining and service at a number of establishments
"“Jon & Vinny…inked a deal with the SoFi folks to turn out several different menus on property. Each is meant to act as a tentpole dining experience, playing off of traditional stadium food married with California sensibilities. – per Farley Elliot from la.eater.com"
The only problem is, the debut was not so hot. By some accounts, neither was the food. But the duo did create a rather tempting promotional video. Here is the video.
Food at a venue like SoFi Stadium is tough to do. Either you go inexpensive mass-produced offerings like McDonald’s or Chipotle’s, which thwarts the robust ambiance of such an upscale stadium. Or you go high-end with fine dining, but that takes plated service, and a lot more space to seat, cook, serve, clear and clean constantly. Unfortunately, the fine line of combining two markets is tough to walk, and impossible for those trying to meet the demand in their first attempt.
Eats that can’t be beat
Now, if it’s all about the food, then we encourage you to check out the Dine-N-Bash videos from LA Rams Sebastian Joseph Day. But if you want football food? We have your back. Here are three menu offerings you can cook in your own kitchen to enjoy at your next Rams tailgate party.
Never enter an airport or a stadium hungry, folks. That’s just a simple rule to prevent what you might have encountered at the Chargers-Rams game, particularly since the entire structure was debuting everything simultaneously. The service and the quality of the food will improve as the dust settles.
But that sticker shock? You may have to accept that for a while.